The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year (For Me)
My all-time favorite holiday is New Year’s Day – it offers the opportunity to reset. I set a new tone in the new year by journaling. It clarifies what I’ve done, what I didn’t do, what I want, and how to get there. I highly recommend journaling.
In the last Outside Insights blog, I focused on carving out time and space as a gift to yourself in the new year. Not only is it a gift, it’s a resolution, an opportunity to resolve to gift yourself. But how do you actually carve out time and space from an already busy life?
My wife Kim and I decided long ago to nix big, loud New Year’s Eve parties with strangers. Now, years later and with self-reflection, I realize Kim and I, without knowing it back then, took the steps to protect our peace. Also, after more self-reflection, it has occurred to me that some subscribers may not know how to lead and drive forward with a plan that protects peace and incorporates time and space into a rewarding lifestyle routine. There are the challenges of direction, confidence, or inclination. I get it. Which is why I hope you like and use my personal New Year’s Day plan that evokes a zen-ish meditative practice.
First, if you keep a calendar, get it out and look back on it. If not, revisit the year mentally. Either of these options require solitude and quiet so you can concentrate. Get ready to journal. When I look back, I:
- remind myself of where I traveled and recognize the meaningful memories that were made. This year it was Florida and Iowa. They were planned getaways with friends, family, and a misfit gang of aging hikers.
- center on key life events and who I spent time with, which can be both painful and rewarding. Reliving those memories stirs mixed emotions. Then, I often plan who I want to spend time with in the upcoming year. (A long time ago, I asked my sister Amy to run a half-marathon and of course, I finished strong in the “Clydesdale” division.)
- review my business roles as Placers President, a business coach to mid-market companies, and creator of Outside Insights blogs and podcasts. In 2022, I had the privilege to celebrate the release of “Opposite The Crowd” in its audio version. In 2023, it will be published in e-book and print versions.
- discern the results of my hobbies and learning. I wanted to learn dog agility in 2022 with Gracie, our Aussie. That didn’t happen. Perhaps in 2023.
- think about my health and goals to achieve fitness in an effort to live my best life. The goal is to keep moving and maintain flexibility.
When I feel like I’m satisfied with journaling about my year, I move on to family matters like our home improvement projects or other ideas we’ve tossed around. In the Burkhard household, the new year is all about attracting birds and butterflies to our yard. We completed a landscaping project last year.
I hope you see a pattern and understand the progression of this journaling practice. I really want you to get the idea of it. Sticking with it is key – keep journaling! I know when I have no new or energizing thoughts and you will too. When I’m done, I’m pleased with my accomplishments and see a new path forward. Also, I recognize what I need to work on since I revisited last year’s goals. The same will happen for you.
The sense of satisfaction and joy of analyzing the year through journaling is surprisingly fulfilling. It reveals my progress and my flaws. That’s what it does. I have journaled this way for 23 years and have the life I want.
This is worth mentioning, a bucket list item of mine was to rehab an old Jeep. It took me 25 years to buy and rebirth one. I finally achieved this goal in 2019. I wholeheartedly urge those who start journaling to stick with it throughout the year.
The process of journaling the past year and forward delivers the gift of time and space while offering the opportunity to reflect on what you want. Start with these prompts:
- Rate the health of relationships with family, friends, and colleagues.
- Identify which relationships are causing stress and why that may be. Are boundaries in place?
- Consider how to add value to relationships. What does that look like in 2023?
- List physical accomplishments and goals.
- Reflect on emotional, spiritual, and mental endgames.
- Make a record of milestone achievements and targets – career, retirement, home, special projects, etc.
- Focus on self-improvement. What areas need attention?
- Check off completed bucket list items from 2022. Which ones will be conquered in 2023?
- Hone 2022 skills and continue to build on them. What were they?
- Explore new hobbies in 2023. What will they be?
I got up early before the household began to stir and in these dark, quiet hours, reflected on the last 20 years of my life. Organizing my brain, my plans, and my goals is one of the most important ways I practice self-care. This is journaling and meditating with purpose. I realize my progress, list my accomplishments, and notice that some of my dreams came true with hard work, dedication, and a little luck.
It registers the list of both big and small ideas and dreams not yet achieved. I have come to accept that I do not mind failure. I am blessed to have the ability to persevere, persist, and press on combined with the fortitude to fail, learn, make adjustments, and keep going – again and again.
My wish is that you adopt my personal New Year’s Day plan, practice it regularly throughout the year, and find it useful and productive.
Happy New Year!
If you enjoyed this article, I recommend reading these past Outside Insights posts:
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